WFU honors Mozart's birthday with 'I Musici of Rome' concert

By Pam Barrett
January 31, 2006

In honor of Mozart's 250th birthday, Wake Forest University's Secrest Artists Series will present the legendary Italian chamber orchestra I Musici of Rome at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in Wait Chapel. Internationally acclaimed pianist Stephen Hough will perform as a guest soloist with the orchestra.

Stephen Hough

A pre-performance talk will be given by Stewart Carter, professor of music at Wake Forest, at 6:40 p.m. in the Reynolda Hall Main Lounge.

The concert program will include four pieces by Mozart. The highlights of the program will be Piano Concerto No. 14 K449, featuring Hough, and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K525.

According to The New York Times, I Musici has achieved "the most delicate nuances of shading, of balance, of phrasing. Never does the rhythmic impulse falter; never is a note out of place."

I Musici, which means "the musicians" in 18th century Italian, was created in 1952 when 12 young Italian musicians decided to create a unique chamber orchestra that would revitalize the string repertory. In an unconventional move, the ensemble deliberately decided to work without a conductor and encourage an egalitarian relationship among the musicians. The orchestra was comprised of six violins, two violas, two celli, one double bass and one harpsichord. The approach proved to be successful. Shortly after their public debut in 1952, they were catapulted to the ranks of international performers. Today, the orchestra's recordings include a huge collection of compositions from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

I Musici

Stephen Hough won first prize in the Naumburg International Piano Competition in New York in 1983 and since then, he has appeared regularly with most of the major American orchestras and with numerous European orchestras. During the 2003-2004 season, Hough performed his debut recital at Carnegie Hall and performed in concert with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center.

I Musici is performing in place of the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, which was originally scheduled to perform on Feb. 28, but cancelled its U.S. tour. Other venues on this I Musici tour include Lincoln Center, Boston Symphony Hall and the Lensic Center in Santa Fe.

Tickets are $20 general admission and $12 for non-Wake Forest students and senior citizens. They are available through the University Theatre Box Office at 336-758-5295.